KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — With less than a week until Thanksgiving, hundreds of families in the metro are relying on community groups for a warm meal this holiday. The pandemic has brought on financial hardship for families and logistical troubles, with social distancing and fewer staff, for outreach groups.
“Because we knew we’d have fewer people [volunteering], we tried to be more prepared. So we packed many more boxes ahead of time than we normally would,” says Nyrobi Collins as she takes a break from volunteering at St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City.
Collins shared her story, which she says helps her empathize with the community she serves.
“Growing up my mother had a lot of children and we often needed help.”
Pastor Danielle Quinn heads up Spiritual Formation at St. James UMC. She says this year the need is greater, but so is her devotion to helping.
“One of the ways that you can counteract despair is by doing something about it and so this is one of the ways that we do something about it,” says Pastor Quinn.
Volunteers with St. James UMC spent the week preparing hundreds of basket meals with turkey, chicken, fixings, and toiletries to be picked up in a drive-thru giveaway Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Pastor Quinn and Collins have both noticed an increase in people seeking assistance at the church, some they’ve never served.
As St. James UMC serves nearly 700 families from across the metro, including Independence, Lee’s Summit, and KCK, a smaller group in Kansas City, Mo is also doing their part to help 262 families. For nine years, Shelter KC and Community Praise Worship and World Outreach Center have partnered for Operation Family Feast. Pastor Eartherline Downs says she debated having the event this year for fear of exposing her volunteers to COVID-19. After deliberating, she opted to take extra precautions including temperature checks and spacing out volunteers in cohorts in order to feed community members counting on her help. Operation Family Feast will deliver meals to 262 families in the KCMO area Saturday.
<a href=”https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/” target=”_blank”>Catholic Charities USA</a>
<a href=”https://www.harvesters.org/” target=”_blank”>Harvesters Community Food Network</a>
<a href=”https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/” target=”_blank”>The Salvation Army USA</a>